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France Delays Signing EU’s New Deal With Pfizer/BioNTech on Vaccine Supply, Reports Say


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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – France is delaying the signing of an agreement reached by the EU public procurement committee and Pfizer/BioNTech on the supply of up to 1.8 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine designed for inoculating minors, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper reported on Friday, citing sources.

The signing of the final agreement on the vaccine’s delivery requires a unanimous decision within the bloc, but France is blocking it, the newspaper reported.

The deal was expected to be inked before 30 April but it was not approved by the board of European commissioners at a weekly meeting, the newspaper said, adding that a French representative, European Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, who oversees vaccination policy in the European Commission, opposed the signing, citing ongoing technical issues and requests for additional information.

According to one of the sources, Paris appears to be the greatest hindrance to supply, as it seems to want to set up production of the vaccine in France and get French companies involved in the process.

Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to expand emergency use authorization of their vaccine among minors aged 12-15. The European Commission has agreed with the developers to supply over 900 million doses for vaccinating children and adolescents from December 2021 to 2023. In addition, the EU has reserved the opportunity to acquire another 900 million doses.

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